Ms. O’Mara, an artist who works in mixed media with materials like paint, paper pulp and ceramics, needed a studio like the one she and Mr. Uriu had built on their Montclair property. Mr. Uriu needed office space so he could sometimes work from home. And they had grown children who lived nearby.

“At a different point in my life, I would have said ‘one-third live space, two-thirds work space,’” Ms. O’Mara said. “But given we have a family and they visit, and grandchildren, we wanted it to be gracious and welcoming to our family and friends.”

according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.) But the couple’s willingness to choose unconventional materials allowed them to find savings where others might not have.

For a few splurges, they enlisted the help of friends in the design industry. Art in Construction, in Brooklyn, designed the pigmented plaster waterfall counter on the kitchen island and the veneer-plaster vanity counter in the master bathroom. An ironworker friend made the banisters for the two staircases.

Mr. Jordan looked for creative ways to add storage to the open space, installing built-in bookshelves on the staircases, along with a Putnam rolling ladder. Other playful flourishes included a hammock, a pulley system for storing bikes, and a seat made of netting that dangles from the banister on the landing of the studio staircase, creating an unexpected spot to read.

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$23.50 Million Community in Merced, CA Sold by The Mogharebi Group

MERCED, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Mogharebi Group, (“TMG”) has completed the sale of Axis at Compass Pointe in Merced, a 96-unit community located at 3779 Horizon Avenue. The property sold with multiple offers for a record price of $23,500,000 that equates to $244K per unit or $245 per square foot. The buyer is a private investment group out of the San Diego area.

“No inventory has been added in Merced since 2013, apart for Axis at Compass Pointe. Therefore, there was a high level of interest from buyers for this asset,” says Nazli Santana, Senior Investment Advisor of TMG. “Axis at Compass Pointe is the top option for UC Merced off-campus housing, as well as the nearby Medical Center and College.” Ms. Santana concluded, “As a result, the property sold at a record price for the market.”

Nazli Santana and Otto Ozen of TMG represented the buyer, a San Diego based private investment group.

Built in 2019, Axis at Compass Pointe is a two-story, Class A, 96-unit apartment community that is located on Horizon Avenue in Merced, CA. The property comprises 12 residential buildings totaling 95,808 rentable square feet. The complex is situated on a 4.87-acre site. The apartment homes feature spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans with an average size of 1,000 square feet. The property boasts a clubhouse, fitness center, and leasing office. The units feature granite countertops, wood flooring, balconies & patios, and in-unit washer / dryer.

About The Mogharebi Group (TMG): The Mogharebi Group is a brokerage firm specializing in the multifamily property sector throughout the Western United States. With unparalleled local market knowledge, an extensive global network of top real estate investors, state-of-the-art technology, and direct access to capital with over $800MM in regularly revolving inventory, The Mogharebi Group is the best choice to meet the needs of major private investors and investment funds.

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Where Adventurous Gardeners Buy Their Seeds

It’s no secret where to get seeds for famous-name tomatoes like Sun Gold or any of the other catalog standbys you’ve come to count on. But don’t stop there.

An entire world of genetic diversity and cultural history is available to those who look a little further, courtesy of an emerging group of seed sellers who combine a passion for the unusual with a mission behind each offering.

The mission behind a particular seed variety may be environmental: perennial versions of favorite edibles like kale, for instance, that mean less tilling and therefore less carbon released into the atmosphere, which is especially important on a farming scale. Or it may be to preserve and disseminate traditional seeds from places like Afghanistan, Sudan or the Maldives, threatened communities where the genetics of ancestral plants are imperiled by strife or climate havoc.

Experimental Farm Network, calls “a slow walk into garden radicalism.”

Come for the irresistibly unusual: the Guatemalan Green-Fleshed Ayote winter squash (not your standard orange), the Chinese Pink celery, with its startlingly vivid stalks, or the Sacre Bleu kidney beans (yes, blue). But stay — as Mr. Kleinman and the founders of other like-minded companies hope you will — for the future-focused optimism: not just the seeds’ personalities and the bounty they promise, but the deeper possibilities they represent.

To get adventurous gardeners started, Mr. Kleinman put together a short list of some of his colleagues in the small-scale organic seed movement. And yes, he regards them as colleagues — not competitors.

Cooperative Gardens Commission, providing free seeds to empower people to grow food. More than two dozen companies donated seeds that were distributed last year to more than 300 local and regional hubs.

Peace Seedlings, where peas with yellow or purple pods and marigolds that grow to six feet or higher are among the diverse headliners.

Experimental Farm Network lists a turnip grex and golden beet grex, originally from Dr. Kapuler, and another called Homesteader’s Kaleidoscopic Perennial Kale, bred by Chris Homanics. These are bushy plants that display a range of leaf colors, some with dramatic variegation.

“What tends to blow people’s minds about the grexes and populations that don’t grow true to the previous generation is that every seed has the potential to be something completely new that’s never been seen before,” Mr. Kleinman said. “Most seed companies would never sell them, but we like to offer people that mystery and the excitement of not knowing what’s coming.”

Truelove Seeds, in Philadelphia, also focuses on culturally important varieties, many of them ancestral seeds of growers in the company’s network. These growers understand which traits to select for, so they know best how to preserve any given variety — like the Northern-adapted strain of pigeon peas, or gandules, for example, which East New York Farms in Brooklyn brought to the Truelove mix.

At the West Virginia-based Two Seeds in a Pod, the traditional crops of Turkey are the focus. An astonishing range of peppers beckons, alongside Anatolian watermelons with seeds that look as if an artist had carved decorative markings into them.

A new source offering its first list of seeds this month is Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance, a Black- and Indigenous-led company with a focus on African and African-American crops like Ethiopian kale, Alabama Red okra and four types of collards.

Climate change came into sharp focus for Mr. Kleinman when he did hurricane-relief work with Occupy Sandy. When Experimental Farm Network was formed, the idea of developing carbon-sequestering perennial staple crops — grains, oilseeds, vegetables — remained front of mind.

Adaptive Seeds in Oregon, a catalog rich with open-pollinated food and flowers. “They gave us two sorghum heads full of seed,” Mr. Kleinman said, “and now they, in turn, carry a South Sudanese variety from us.”

Each order taken at one of these places means more genetics have more chances to grow and express themselves — to adapt and evolve.

“Seeds carry almost infinite potential,” Mr. Kleinman posted recently on the @experimentalfarmnetwork Instagram. “They brought us to this day and they’ll carry us to the next.”

Margaret Roach is the creator of the website and podcast A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.

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Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, January 13, 2022

“Mortgage rates surged in the second week of the new year. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 3.45% from 3.22% the previous week. If inflation continues to grow at the current pace, rates will move up even faster in the following months. Nevertheless, the Fed has already started its efforts to control inflation by pulling back on bond purchases and raising interest rates later this year. Thus, if inflation slows down, mortgage rates may not rise as much, remaining near historic lows. NAR expects inflation to start easing in the second half of the year, growing by 4.5% by the end of 2022.

Nevertheless, amid rising rates, owning a home remains more affordable than renting. After comparing the monthly mortgage for owning a median-priced home ($1,260) to the average rent ($1,540), it’s still more affordable to buy a home. Taking into consideration the financial and social benefits of owning a home, the gap between owning and renting is even larger. For instance, people who bought their home a year ago have already accumulated more than $50,000 in equity in just one year.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that more than 35% of renters can currently afford to buy the typical home. This translates to nearly 15.1 million renter households. These renters are typically 40 years old, 42% of them are married, and most of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Looking at their expenses, these renters spend $1,450 on average for rent. Thus, as it makes more sense for them to own than rent a home, expect homebuying activity to remain strong this year.”

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Manhattan Rents Break Another Record, as Market Shows Signs of Cooling

The median rent in Manhattan reached nearly $3,400 in December, the highest price ever recorded for the typically sleepy month, but slowing lease activity citywide suggests a gradual return to prepandemic norms, according to new market reports.

The median net-effective rent, which includes price concessions from landlords, was $3,392 in December, 21 percent higher than the same time a year ago, and the highest price recorded in the month since at least 2010, when these numbers began to be tracked in New York City, according to the brokerage Douglas Elliman. (The highest median rent was reached in April 2020, when it peaked at $3,540 a month.)

But new signed leases, a measure of demand, were down almost 39 percent from the same time last year, to 3,335 from 5,459, when a rush of mostly affluent renters began returning to the city amid rising vaccination rates, said Jonathan J. Miller, an appraiser and the author of the report.

“December was the first step toward some sign of normalization,” Mr. Miller said. “It’s basically come off a period of massive surge.”

hundreds of thousands of renters who were struggling to stay current even before the pandemic. In December, more than one-eighth of the country’s renters who were behind on payments lived in New York City, said Nancy Wu, the chief economist at StreetEasy.

“Rising rents and low inventory exacerbate the problem,” she said. “And another rush to the rentals market in the coming months will make it more difficult and competitive than ever for New Yorkers to find a suitable, affordable apartment.”

A statewide pause on evictions is set to expire on Jan. 15, and Gov. Kathy Hochul signaled on Tuesday that she will not extend the moratorium again, when she said the pause will conclude “very shortly.” While federal funding for New York’s emergency rental assistance program fell far short of the state’s request, tenants can still apply for help.

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Gateway Ends 2021 With Continued Growth in Mortgage Operations

TULSA, Okla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gateway Mortgage, a division of Gateway First Bank, ended 2021 with impressive growth. The company funded approximately $10.1 billion in residential mortgage loans, assisting nearly 45,000 families with their home financing needs.

In addition to high loan production, Gateway grew the reach of its mortgage operations across the United States to meet increased demand from local communities for home financing. Gateway opened 15 new mortgage centers in 2021 across 13 different states, bringing the total number of locations to 171. New mortgage centers include:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Casper, WY
  • Celina, TX
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Eagle, ID
  • Fishers, IN
  • Lewisburg, WV
  • Longmont, CO
  • Pierre, SD
  • Portland, OR
  • Sheridan, WY
  • Spokane, WA
  • St. George, UT
  • Tucson, AZ

Gateway plans to open additional mortgage and banking centers in 2022.

“Through all the growth and transition of the past few years, the Gateway team remains committed to the mission of strengthening families and communities,” said Scott Gesell, CEO of Gateway. “By putting people first, Gateway’s culture is strong and will be the driving force behind future success.”

“I am extremely proud of how the team repeatedly demonstrates a strong dedication to excellence by closing loans on time,” said Steven Plaisance, President of Mortgage Banking. “This commitment to exceeding customer expectations means families can start living the American dream of homeownership in a quicker and less stressful environment.”

Gateway is one of the larger banks based in Oklahoma and one of the largest mortgage bank operations in the United States.

About Gateway First Bank

Gateway First Bank is a leading financial institution that provides banking and mortgage services for consumers and commercial customers. Headquartered in Jenks, Oklahoma, Gateway is a $1.9 billion asset sized bank with a strong mortgage operation. Gateway is one of the largest banking operations in Oklahoma and mortgage operations in the United States, with eight bank centers in Oklahoma, over 170 mortgage centers in 43 states, and over 1,600 employees. Learn more at Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (NMLS 7233).

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What $425,000 Buys You in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania

Fletcher Place Historic District, one of Indiana’s oldest urban neighborhoods, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. This house is just outside the boundaries of the official historic district, where streets are lined with Italianate, Queen Anne and Gothic Revival homes built in the 1870s and 1880s. Nearby Virginia Avenue is a nightlife destination, with gastro pubs, an arcade-themed bar and a craft spirits distillery. The corporate offices and laboratories of Eli Lilly and Company are a five-minute drive; downtown Indianapolis is 10 minutes away.

Size: 3,960 square feet

Price per square foot: $115

Indoors: Brick steps lead from the street to the covered front porch. The front door opens into a foyer with a small chandelier. To the right, through pocket doors, is a living room with a fireplace and street-facing windows that have stained-glass accents.

Next to the living room, through a wide doorway with decorative trim, is an office that could also serve as a guest room. Directly across from the front door are double doors that open to a dining room with its original built-in cabinets and more windows with stained-glass trim.

Through the dining room is a spacious kitchen with new cabinets and appliances, multiple windows and a door to the backyard. Between the dining room and office is a full bathroom with a glass-walled shower. A mudroom is off the dining room and kitchen.

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